Almost two weeks after it confirmed it had received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, the University of North Carolina finally revealed the contents of that 59-page document on Thursday afternoon.
The Notice of Allegations hit the Tar Heels with a lack of institutional control charge and four other potentially serious violations in the wake of the NCAA's lengthy investigation into the academic fraud that took place at the school.
The first two allegations state that North Carolina student-athletes received impermissible benefits unavailable to the rest of the student body when their academic counselors obtained special assistance and privileges for them. The next two allegations target African American Studies department officials Deborah Crowder and Dr. Julius Nyang’oro for their failure to cooperate in the NCAA's investigation.
The final allegation is the most serious one, the charge of lack of institutional control. It asserts that the athletic department failed to properly monitor the actions of members of its academic support staff and cast a blind eye to why so many athletes were enrolled in courses in the African American Studies department.
"Although the general student body also had access to the anomalous AFRI/AFAM courses," the Notice of Allegations reads, "student-athletes received preferential access to these anomalous courses, enrolled in these anomalous courses at a disproportionate rate to that of the general student body and received other impermissible benefits not available to the general student body in connection with these courses."
The Notice of Allegations arrived nearly a year after the NCAA decided to reopen its investigation into sham classes offered at North Carolina in the African American Studies department. Federal prosecutor Kenneth Wanstein subsequently uncovered new information pertaining to the scandal, revealing last October that more than 3,100 students were enrolled in the classes in question over an 18-year period and that student-athletes accounted for nearly half the course enrollments.
North Carolina must respond within 90 days to the Notice of Allegations, which it received May 21. School officials will then meet with the NCAA in Indianapolis and await a ruling on what the penalties will be, a decision that history suggests likely won't come until sometime early next year.
Since the allegations against North Carolina are so broad rather than sport-specific, it's unclear how the school's football and men's basketball programs will be affected. There's no pertinent case for the NCAA's committee on infractions to use as a model as it determines penalties, so it could come down to a gut feeling from members of the committee.
The sport mentioned most frequently in the notice is actually North Carolina's women's basketball program. That's because the notice alleges that women's basketball counselor Jan Boxill committed major violations in the form of improper academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball players.
As part of North Carolina's statement, athletic director Bubba Cunningham and Chancellor Carol L. Folt acknowledged previous mistakes but also noted the efforts of the university to address them. Here's the full statment:
“We take the allegations the NCAA made about past conduct very seriously. This is the next step in a defined process, and we are a long way from reaching a conclusion. We will respond to the notice using facts and evidence to present a full picture of our case. Although we may identify some instances in the NCAA’s notice where we agree and others where we do not, we are committed to continue pursuing a fair and just outcome for Carolina.
“We believe the University has done everything possible to address the academic irregularities that ended in 2011 and prevent them from recurring. We have implemented more than 70 reforms and initiatives to ensure and enhance academic integrity. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of those measures and, wherever needed, put additional safeguards in place.”
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